Dental referrals: market engagement summary

Earlier this week our Partnership manager, Josh Murray, attended the Arden and GEM CSU market engagement event for an oral dental referral management service. Below is a summary of the tender, and some observations.

The Contract

Arden and GEM CSU on behalf of NHS England Midlands & East (the “East”) are seeking to procure a Referral Management Services in respect of specialist dental services.

The provision of the service is intended to enable patient access to appropriate dental services in a timely manner, reducing waiting times and improving quality of services.

This procurement will be delivered in a phased approach covering the counties of Essex and Norfolk in 2017/2018, Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and Suffolk in 2018/2019.


Presently, around 75% of dental referrals in the areas covered are paper based, and although there are intentions to move to an electronic format, the selected provider will need to manage referrals in paper form to begin with. A pilot scheme recently launched in the Essex area has successfully driven up the use of electronic referrals, understanding the intricacies of this scheme will be of great benefit to the preferred provider.

This is clearly an interesting tender, and providers may have the opportunity to utlise an existing network of local dental triagers. This has the added benefit of maintaining established service relationships.

Finally, there may be scope for further expansion. The service under procurement here excludes some referrals, children under the age of 12 for example, however there appears to be some ambition in the future to establish a single-point of access for all dental referrals. I suspect this depends in part on the East’s future resourcing, and perhaps more importantly the success of the service under procurement here.

We, psHEALTH, are happy to engage in discussions with other providers interested in this tender. And whether we are part of a bid for or not, we’ll be sure to keep a close eye on developments.

For more information about psHEALTH’s referral management software and to see a demo please contact